Main Location: Minneapolis
To many of us who dutifully followed the Food Truck scene soon after that particular law passed, Chef Shack holds a very special place in our hearts (and stomachs). One of the true “founding members” of the first Minneapolis Food Truck group, in business long before the law even passed, Chef Shack is truly the God-Mother of our entire Truck Culture.
Using ingredients from Co-ops and Family Farms, Chef Shack sticks to the organic mantra, cranking out their own versions of classic street food. Grass-fed Bison Burgers with housemade ketchup, Beef Tongue Tacos (if you haven’t had beef tongue, stop saying “eewwwww” and grab a taco; seriously, it’s basically just like roast beef, but better), Tempura Soft Shell Crab Sandwiches, Trailer-made Ice Creams, and what they’re most known for: Indian-Spiced Mini Donuts.
They also carry quite a few menu versions for those with a more vegetarian taste. Black Bean Burgers and Sweet Potato Tacos are a common sight; I’ve had the latter, and let me say it is just as good as any other taco out there. Handmade desserts are an ever-changing experience, usually involving a classic pie or cake shoved into some ice cream cone or bowl for easy walkability (sounds like something Fozzy Bear would use to rate his jokes).
A Note of warning, or at least anticipation: they currently have at least two trucks, and neither of them focus on the same foods. Both surrounded by flashing Fair Stand-Style light bulbs, the Red Truck employs all the main food items. It is the White Truck that sells the mini-donuts, along with a smaller menu of other items. Luckily the latter is easy to determine; it has “Mini Donuts” inlaid above the windshield.
I have never walked away from this Food Truck unsatisfied. All proteins are cooked and prepared very well, served alongside flavorful toppings and sauces. Vegetarian items are just as quality driven, not losing any spots to the proteins.
The real highlight, though, are those Mini Donuts. Completely reminiscent of those old State Fair stands, they are soft, hot and fluffy, with that real clean-oil taste of the friar all good donuts have. I think there might be a touch of wheat in the flour mix as well… or at least a slightly-coarse, darker grain.
The Indian Spices in the sugar coating are very gentle and subtle, only appearing when you search and pay attention to them. Though, I sort of keep feeling that they’re a little TOO subtle; I want to taste more of them. It’s a good flavor, and since they focus on it, we should really be able to taste it, so long as it doesn’t overrun our senses.
Depends on the item, but one can tell that all menu options are made with the focus of eating with your hands while walking. A little sad that this isn’t the case for every truck.
Noticeable range, but it has never gotten that high. Mini Donuts, desserts, and other special items are priced very low, so it’s quite tempting and easy to grab multiple things.
Faster items such as Donuts and Tacos mixed in with those needing to-order cooking; the speed overall remains clean.
The TOE: 10
Chef Shack is almost literally the kind of Food Truck that other Trucks look to model themselves after; well, at the very least, it should be. The light bulb designs are nostalgic of Fairs as a child, the food is local, menu small, and the owners are clearly putting themselves into everything being made. Not to mention those Mini Donuts are the first, and possibly most perfect, Toe Ring to hit Minneapolis’ Food Truck options.
The aura of being at a True Food Truck is a hard thing not to feel whenever you visit, and they deliver it well.
Look for the White Truck, because Mini Donuts are a must-have for every single visit; they just make you happy. If you cannot find them, then try to see if they have any interesting desserts for the day. I haven’t had one yet, but they’ve caught my eye a few times as something I want.
You need to try the Beef Tongue Tacos; again, stop it with the Eww, it’s not that bad. In fact, it is absolutely delicious, they make a good taco with them. Don’t forget to top it with whatever hand-made pickles they have for the day (they do a lot more seasonal variety with them than other Food Trucks from what I’ve seen). Besides those, I would probably put main highlights around the Bison Burger and Soft-Shelled Crab.
For Vegetarians, this is one of the best options for Trucks, next to Foxy Falafel of course.